Okay, not all social scientists are dunces. However, an unfortunately large proportion of social scientists are fond of launching attacks on evolutionary psychology based on a misguided and misunderstood straw-man monolith.

“But I’m not a social scientist!” Okay, fine. Unfortunately, the dominant paradigm in the 20th century was social science and postmodernism. Even if you’re not a strict adherent (or if you just don’t understand the difference), there’s a good chance your socialization included a large helping of indoctrination in its basic tenets. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I once worshipped at the altar of Derrida and Baudrillard. In the words of the Monty Python boys, “I got bett’ah.” As a good example of the pap floating around, I ran across this image: Evolutionary Psychology Bingo

Apart from being approximately 100% bullshit, and a fine demonstration of blatant lack of understanding and/or overt misrepresentation, it was sorta funny.

It’s my pleasure to present you with a little infographic of my own… (click image to enlarge)

I realize that anti-evolutionary psychology folks are immune to evidence contrary to their ideology, but for anyone sincerely interested in understanding, the articles below can help to clarify some of the ideas bastardized by the creators of Evolutionary Psychology Bingo. I can’t find a link to the free full-text of the second one, but the title is an indication of its beauty. If you have any specific comments or questions, leave them below or on my Evolutionary Psychology FAQ (currently in rough-draft form).

Confer, J. C., Easton, J. A., Fleischman, D. S., Goetz, C. D., Lewis, D. M. G., Perilloux, C., et al. (2010). Evolutionary psychology: Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations. The American psychologist, 65(2), 110-26.

Kenrick, D. (1995). Evolutionary Theory Versus the Confederacy of Dunces. Psychological Inquiry6(1), 56.

  1. David Csonka 14 years ago

    Our human ancestors ate meat?! Poppycock!

  2. Jenna 13 years ago

    [youtube LRzTfxasB_w&feature=player_embedded#! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRzTfxasB_w&feature=player_embedded#! youtube]

    Agghhh, ouch, the 'truth' hurts. I feel so angry, having paid thousands for a completely worthless degree for the second time! It all began with liberal minded parenting, and the virtues of 'humanitarianism' (what is that?). First degree began with Art, quit that, now, just quit Anthropology degree having figured, HYPOCRISY on a grand and implicit nonsensical scale. Trouble is my parents don't understand why, anthropology sucks ethically, dare I say it, theoretically! "But you're being taught at a 'top London University!" So my parents find it easier to consider my, wrong doings. After all, "your sis studied Anthropology, and is setting up an NGO in Africa! And her PHD thesis will be kept in the British Museum!!!!!" I can't discuss my views with my sister unfortunately, because when I did try, certain points of view were unwittingly implicated, which proved a bit insulting.

    So I used up most of my student loan on domains I didn't truly understand until I began to study them and proclaimed arrogant by 'the experts' grading my essays. Arrogant, for providing contrary studies 'outside the domain of importance and empiricism! (haha (choke (splutter)'. Seriously though, what the f**k do I do now! Should I become a builder? A plumber? Go back to school, and take all the subjects that my parents leanings taught me whilst a youngster, were no good, like Science? I am quite an intelligent person, but it has taken a little while to realize that, when ones 'peers' and family members don't see things quite the same way.

    Perhaps now, I sound arrogant. I was excluded by my teachers, given grades which did not reflect the value implicit in my research and arguments on theoretical grounds. For instance being told for most essays that my arguments weren't valid because I did not use 'ethnographic' research, alone, to back them up, but psychological/cognitive studies, and philosophical arguments' too. My work was deemed too abstract for validity. Funnily enough the only 'outstanding' grade I was given was for Ethnographic film. I used exactly the same 'open minded research 'method' as for social anthropology with quite different results. I think the only reason I obtained a high grade for ethnographic film was because as a domain it is having to legitimize its approach and methodology in obtaining valuable ethnographic data in relation to written ethnography (written ethnography is considered more 'scientific'). And the only way really to prove films validity to social anthropologists is by showing how the same problems of representation and 'Semiotics' is implicated for written ethnographic studies: which is what I chose to write about. Anyway, I think your site is brilliant. I just wish even more now, I hadn't been so impulsive and stupid to jump into another useless degree where your taught everything that prevents learning how to think, and even to live well. ARGGGG.

  3. Dame Liberty 13 years ago

    Having been a French Literature major at an Ivy League relativist-pinko-factory, I spent 10 years of my post-university life as culture’s bitch before my brain righted itself (with a little help from the Cosmides & Toobey).

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